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Latlng: (46.476669, -83.704306)

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Algoma District

Ophir (Havilah) Gold Mine

Discovered by OntarioExplorations101
Created Jun 22 2018
Recent status Abandoned
Category Mine
City Algoma District, Ontario
Location # 15382

Gold within the Ophir (Havilah) Gold Mine was first uncovered by a part time prospector known as William Moor in 1891. Most of the prospect that was uncovered became discovered through a series of fissure veins that had ran along side of a bluff. The Journey at this point in time was considered as a rough adventure that was not access through any road ways as the mine site was disordered in extreme isolation. However, it was during the staking of this property that ownership battles would flare as the property was grubstaked in 1891. Most of this resulted in taking William Moor to court as it was J. W. Miller who took action against the prospector. The land dispute who had owned this property had taken several months before a judge had ruled out that J.W. Miller was to be the new owner of the future Ophir Gold Property. Much of this at the time had rather resulted in making settlement towns like Havilah for the Gold Miners and Rock Lake became a town site for the Copper Miners. Other portions of property were also carried out by the dependants of the miners families which became known farm lands to this day. Most of the bodies of water within the area had covered a large portion of the gold found on properties owned by miners and families and would cover significant ground.

​A serious amount of mining work was first started on the Ophir Property in 1892, in which a number of pits were sunk on the Chimney Vein and at the lower end of it a shaft had been sunk to 10 feet. The property at this time was taken up by an optionee known as the International Development Company of Duluth, which also held options on several other properties. The company at the time had also not commence any work on its locations as it was focus on exploring the Ophir Property. A Chicago Syndicate at the time had also spent $25,000 towards sinking shallow pits on drift covered locations that revealed the extension of the Ophir Vein towards the northwest. The Syndicate at the time had believed that this vein connected with the Ophir Vein at a distance of 3 1/2 miles, which was once called the Mudge Property before changing names to the Tip Top Mine. Several pits in this location were open up in which no vein was discovered, and the coarse of the Ophir Vein was proven to be due west by Colonel Wallace. However, the Chicago Syndicate had rather wanted to keep this locality alive, and the International Development Company of Duluth had arrange to form a syndicate. This resulted in allowing A .E Humphreys to be in charge of operations at the Ophir Mine Site. Mr. Humphreys was rather not a mine developer but a lumber man who secured the position in operating the Ophir Mine Site. He had additionally hired on Mr. Wallace as the main geoengineer of this property at the time which resulted in other discoveries of iron ore in Minnesota, United States. Mr. Colonel Wallace was sent immediately to examine the property which became favorable in organizing the Ophir Company in order to purchase this property for $100,000. Among the men who were associated with Mr. Humphreys was other associates by the name of George J. Atkins, Frank Woodman, and George E. Milligan. On October, 5th, 1892, Colonel Wallace had came to take charge in the development of the Ophir Property, when arrangements were made to clear off the land for the building. Most of the workers at this time were also boarding with farmers until the boarding house was completed on the 10th of November, 1892. Other buildings at the time had also followed suit which included dwellings, and accommodations were increased in order to employ more men. Development resulted in nearly cutting all the timber from the lot and was cleared off to make way for many other buildings like offices, dinning hall, blacksmith shop, were built. This progressed towards working the fissure vein through an adit and a chimney shaft was sunk and continued throughout the winter season. Spring thaw had also caused some delays towards mining operations as a portion of this property was located near a swamp section, which resulted in flooding and no pumps were at work. Mr. Wallace at the time had directed his employees to continue working the upper portion of the vein by driving adits, in which a large portion of ore was brought to the surface. Most of the work at the time had resulted in building a stamp milling operation of 20 stamps. The contract of this engineering plan was given to Fraser and Chalmers of Chicago, but were under the direction of Mr. Wallace who provided all the timber lumber. Excavation work of the future mill site was commenced in July, and the milling facility was officially active on October, 9th, 1892. The main building was made to have a measurement of 58 by 81 feet, which was five stories, with a wing of 37 by 58 feet and 13 feet in height. It rather had occupied a battery floor with the installation of four batteries of five stamps, which was also occupied with an ore bin and rock breaker floor. A tramway at the time had also connect with the Rock Breaker Floor from the ore pile that was hoisted from the adit workings to the milling facility. The mill was excessively designed to accommodate large tonnage of ore that could work at a daily capacity rate of 433,500 foot tonnes per day in 24 hours. It also had its own compacity limit of 40 tonnes of ore a day that could be milled in 24 hours.

​Alexander Murray at the time had additionally sold this ground off when it was acquired by another investor who would develop this property in Northern, Ontario, Canada. It was at this point in time when the historical Ophir Gold Property was taken up by the Ophir Mining Company that was incorporated under the laws of Illinois, United States. The company at the time had a capitilization of $3,000,000, in which $300,000 in shares at $10 each were issued. Most of the investment at the time was also commonly known to have been taken upon by Americans who had visited and carried out sampling of the ore being worked. A number of samples that were taken from this deposit had shown it to be quite rich in gold, but no investor at the time was sure if this had shown the average vein of the gold being worked. A mill test at the time was also done during this time period which resulted in treating 5,170 Lb of ore that yield average assays of 9.7 ounces of gold and 6.15 ounces of silver per ton. It was with the strengthening of this report that stocks of the Ophir Mining Company were officially progressed in 1893. The down fall of this had rather made tremendous difficulties in mining this area that resulted in a stock market collapse that caused many stock holders to forfeit their shares in the company. It wasn't largely caused due to the company encountering exhaustion of ore as the mine site had contained more then its fair share of gold. These deposits of rich gold were rather found to have run in a north-east direction from Cuthbertson location, towards a track of 6,400 acres of land. The road is also considered to cut through the north-west corner of Lot. 4 in the sixth concession of Plummer and through Lot 4 of the first concession of Ottertail, which is a hamlet of the lower end of a lake with the same name. It was also believe to have travelled along coarse between the high hills and the Thessalon River, where its found to go in a Southward Direction that consists of Red and White Quartzite towards Lake Huron. From here the Thessalon River is known for winding down the south end of Ottertail Lake, which had been lowered for that purpose, in which a road intersects a wide peaty bottom and ascends a band of white quartzite hills. These quartzite hills are rather known for trending in a northward direction along the line of Lots. 2 and 3 in Plummber and Cofflin. From here the quartzite is known to trend eastward and northward to the townline of Coflin and Galbraith, where once more it enters the valley of Upper Thessalon, near the Junction of its East and West Branches. The quartzite from this section is then known to turn southward on a newly built road across the East Branch for half a mile where the Ophir Mine was located.

Most of the work at the time was also done by Lumbermen who had rather rush through the dense wilderness in making road of poor conditions. It was during the time period of 1883, when the roadways were being repaired in order for the Ophir Company to bring in the much needed supplies and equipment to operate. This had resulted in a complete stop to lumbering as the roadway was made private and the lumberingmen had not provided any contribution towards conditioning it. In addition to this, the Ophir Company had rather made it possible to expand the major project in making the roads worthy in order to bring in the much needed supplie and would spend $2000.00 in making this happen. It was also another grant of $1,200 from the Ontario Government that made these roads worthy of traveling from the mine to the townsites of Rock Lake and Havilah. Ophir also became another townsite that was mainly aimed at providing the much transportation of supplies and equipment that came on board with the Canadian Pacific Railway. Transportation at the time was also crucial as the company would either have to access this area by railway line or by taking a steamship from Toronto to Owen Sound and after to the docks of Sault Ste Marie. From here the railway industry had made it possible for the company to gain access into this area. Murray who was a great geologist at the time had stated that the formation was apart of a much different characteristic that belong to the Silurian and Huronian Formations which had folded over each other in a long succession. It was rather reported that the Thessalon Trought had been thrown off for several thousands of feet from where they were originally deposited. This estimation made by Murray had indicated that the succession of dikes and greenstone was estimated to have been thrown off for nearly 11,000 feet, in which his observation had led him to believe that the line of fault extends for a distance of 40 miles.

​The foot portion of water where the stream flows off is known to also give evidence of rich ground that adjoins the Ophir Location. Development at the time resulted in sinking a shaft down to 50 feet before plans at the time had abandoned mining operations and is situated on the northern quarter of Lot. 12. Openings at the time were also made at much higher points of the bluff where the same vein has been traced eastward. Faulting in this location is rather known to be filled with mineral vein matter in association with the gold content. Its also at about a height of 100 feet where the vein is exposed and traced eastward where it disappears under the mass of boulders which have fallen into the gorge. Its also eastward from this section of the bluff where another chloride schist appears that carried a new quartz vein that appears at the base of the waterline and is traced eastward. The discovery of gold in Lot. 12 is reported to have originally been made by William Moore. It was also the south half of the lot that became purchase by Roderick Mackenzie from the Crown in 1883, for $0.20 an acre and settlement duties. But Mackenzie had actually never lived upon it, as William Moore had stated he was the original discover of that location as he shown ore material containing gold, silver and lead. He had rather shown the specimen of ore to Malcolm McLeod, which found its way in the hand of J.W Miller. It was J. W, Miller who had ask William Moore to show him the vein in which he had thought was a very valuable one. Mr. J.W. Miller at the time had offered to open up the vein and pay all expense to extract the rich ore in which William Moore would get interest. However, it was after one full year when Mr. Moore would only receive $7 in profit which resulted in taking legal matter over this prospect. This at the time resulted in taking action against the prospector in recovering full ownership of the property but would only turn out to be a bad ending. Mr. Miller at the time had already filed his name under the crown of the original discover of this site that resulted in William Moore forfeiting the land in 1889. During this time. Mr. Miller had applied to take full ownership of this property when he would purchase it from the Crown. Prior to purchasing the land, Mr. Miller would additionally sell of his portion of the north half to Alexander McArthur in which the McArthur and Miller Agreements were united.

The property that was acquired in 1899, was taken over by a whole different mine investor known as Peter McArthur of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Prospecting on the future Ophir Gold Mine had rather resulted in uncovering a gold deposit that was discovered in fissure veins that had ran along the side of a bluff. This resulted in taking assays of the vein material that had shortly after confirmed grades of 1.06 to 1.14 ounces of gold per tonne, that was valued at $5 to $6 a ton of ore. The richness of the vein was reported to have been spectacular in proving it economical to mine the Ophir Gold Mine.

​Before any mining or even exploratory work had commence, the owner would additionally hired two mine engineers and a manager to manage the property. The two engineers at the time were strongly known as E. L Sawyer and E. Strachan Oox of Toronto, and the manager of the mine was F. A. Fenton of Bruce Mines, Ontario, Canada. Prospecting during 1893, had resulted in spectacular copper showings that were discovered near the present Ophir Mine Site and had extended towards Bruce Mines, Ontario. Canada. It was also during this time period when an adit was started with a workforce of 15 men that became employed at the time. The property at this time was also additionally located on the south half of the north half of lot and the north half of the south half of Lot. 12 concession 3 of Galbraith Township, in the Algoma District. The geology of the region is also spectacular as an occurrence that's associated with many dikes of intrusives, that belong to the same period of volcanic activity. Prospecting along with exploration work had also resulted in discovering new resources of copper deposit in the area at the time. Much of the Ophir Deposit is associated with a dike of highly basic intrusive rocks that are known to be in direct line with the copper deposits at Rock Lake. Most of the ore that was being mined was known to have consisted of quartz and chloride schist as fissure veins with a diorite footwall. ​

Ore at the time was mainly stoped out from the Adit location that provide the necessary ore to fully operate the upper portion of the mining operation. This resulted in carrying out extensive supports that were well place in developing pillars and a large amount of ore from it. It was widely suggested that the roof of the pillar were mainly cut of by barren rock which allowed the company to work the fissure vein it was following. It was also suggested to place timbering when mining out the ore-bodies between the adit locations. Other improvements were also made during this time as a pumping station was also made near the shore line of Lake Ickta which is now known as Havilah Lake. Much of the mining operation at the time was additionally done as a drift mine site which resulted in extensive tunneling. It was also in 1894 when the mine was well equipped with a power house that consisted of two 60 H.P Boilers and a Reynolds Corliss Engine. A gravity tramway had once lead from the mine to the mill and the hoisting plant that was in use had consisted of 16 H.P Duplex Hoist, taking steam from a 12 H.P Upright Boiler. The hanging wall was extremely dangers and roof falls were also fairly common within the Adit workings at the time. Much of the stope section being worked at the time was reported to have been 50 feet by 150 feet, with a winze near the middle and an incline near the S.W end that was now used as a sump and pump station in 1899. Sinking at the time was also in progress within the Internal WInze Shaft at the time which went down to a depth of 11 feet. It was also at about 50 feet S.E of the shaft where a shaft was once located and was being prepared for sinking. Most of the plan at the time was purpo

Latlng: (46.476669, -83.704306)


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TheJon i would be uneasy walking in the bush for that distance given potential bears and what not, but then again, i am a city slicker!

Feb 23 2020

OntarioExplorations101 Thanks for the comment. If you ever travel up towards Bruce Mines take a visit to that mine. Its located in Havilah, and its the first right on Murray Road, named after Alexander Murray. You follow this road across the bridge and up to the top of the hill. The hill goes down once your a top, don't go down, the gate and the decayed house is on the left. I find it much easier going up the other trail by the decayed house. But a fair warning its quite the hike to the top of the bluff.

Jun 27 2018

clay70 Great locations ..thanks...but please dont add "Ontario, Canada" to the location...will fix

Jun 23 2018
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Unknown user I went looking for this years ago when I saw a photo of it in Ron Brown's book. I never could find that same scenic photo.

Jun 22 2018